How did I get here?
That was my question last Thursday night as I sat at the banquet at The Edgar Awards in New York City.
Technically, I got to the banquet because I’m president of Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America (RMMWA).
That slot puts you on the national board for Mystery Writers of America and that means you get to attend a quite swanky event and watch mystery writers pick up the top award in my favorite genre.
But the RMMWA gig only came about because I also previously had the chance to do lots of things with RMFW.
But how did that come about?
Years ago, I’d started going to the monthly workshops on a regular basis. I started asking more questions. I started hanging out. I lingered. And, well, mingled. I started getting to know a few people. And then someone asked if I would like to serve as monthly workshop coordinator. Maybe? Would I?
I won’t belabor every step but suddenly I found myself in the flow of the organization. After a few board meetings, I started to see how the organization functions. Who wouldn’t be impressed by watching so many give so much?
(Don’t worry—this isn’t a ‘please volunteer’ pitch.)
(Of course, it would be fine if you did. RMFW is always in need of new voices. It would give you a chance to linger and mingle.)
By chipping in a little time and effort, showing a bit of care for how RMFW did its thing as an organization, I found it felt good to chip in and help. And then the next thing you know, I’m helping out with the mystery writers group and there you go.
So hold that thought for a second and now see if you agree with me on this (or not).
Writers are friendly people.
As the Edgar Awards banquet was winding down, I hung around. Yes, lingered.
A guy who is, in my world, a pretty darn big name in the mystery writing field came up to say hello. He has won a “best novel of the year” Edgar. His new book (comes out in a few weeks) has already been optioned for film. He’s heading out soon on a national tour.
I’d met him once before at mystery conference, but I mean that “meeting” was 3.5 seconds and done.
Last week the chat was five minutes. Um, maybe ten. He said he knew my name. What? Seriously?
I handed him my business card, which has the cover for Lake of Fire on it and he was surprised. It turns out that was going to be the title for one of his books, a few books ago.
(So glad I beat him to it.)
Well, after chatting for a few minutes he said something along these lines: “If there is anything I can ever do to help you, please let me know.”
So pitching in to help run a few workshops about 10 years ago led me to this conversation with this very well-known writer who is offering me help.
I was telling a non-writer friend about this exchange the morning after the banquet.
She said: “Well, it makes sense, you know, it seems to me that writers have to like people. I mean, if they are going to write about people they have to like them first, be interested in what makes them tick.”
Boom. There it was.
Yeah, writers are generally good people.
We are, generally, interested in people.
Don’t we have to be?